Chris Wallace presses DeVos on threats to withhold funding from schools that don't reopen

Fox News’s Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceMurthy calls for people to be 'more vigilant' on omicron, but not to panic Ernst on Russian buildup on Ukraine border: 'We must prepare for the worst' Fauci to appear on Fox Business Friday for rare interview on the network MORE pressed Education Secretary Betsy DeVosBetsy DeVosMnuchin, Pompeo mulled plan to remove Trump after Jan. 6: book Republicans look to education as winning issue after Virginia successes McAuliffe rolls out new ad hitting back at Youngkin on education MORE on Sunday on threats she and President TrumpDonald TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection MORE have made to withhold federal funding from schools that do not reopen in the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Wallace questioned their “authority” to “unilaterally cut off” funding for schools that was allocated by Congress. He also challenged the secretary, asking whether reducing funds is “exactly the wrong answer” instead of funneling money to “make schools safer” through measures such as health checks. 

“American investment is a promise to students and their families,” DeVos responded on "Fox News Sunday." “If schools aren’t going to reopen and fulfill that promise, they shouldn’t get the funds. Then give it to the families to decide to go to a school that is going to meet that promise.”

Wallace disputed DeVos’s comments on withholding funding, saying, “Well, you can’t do that.”

“I know you support vouchers, and that’s a reasonable argument, but you can’t do that unilaterally,” he added. “You have to do that through Congress.”

DeVos answered by saying the administration is “looking at all the options.”

“It’s a promise of the American people to students and their families, and we want to make sure that promise is followed through on,” she said.

DeVos noted earlier in the interview that there will not be a “one-size-fits-all” approach, saying areas where the coronavirus pandemic is “out of control” in the fall have to be “dealt with differently.”

Last week, DeVos said she was “very seriously” considering withholding funding from schools that do not reopen in the fall, saying that another semester of remote learning would put American students behind. 

"We are looking at this very seriously. This is a very serious issue across the country," DeVos told Fox News host Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonRittenhouse says he's destroying gun used in fatal Kenosha shootings NBA's Enes Kanter: Americans criticizing their country should 'keep their mouth shut' The serious and growing danger of vigilantism MORE.

The president has also tweeted about cutting funding to schools that do not reopen and condemned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for being too tough to allow schools to reopen.

The number of new COVID-19 cases identified each day in the U.S. has been rising in recent weeks, reaching a high of 68,241 new cases on Friday. In total, the nation has confirmed more than 3.2 million COVID-19 cases, leading to at least 134,815 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.